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Movies

August 15, 2013 12:00 AM

Science fiction, contrary to what its frequently fluffy appearances at the multiplex might lead you to believe, is a brilliant medium for ideas. You can invent anything: a starfleet based on equality, a future destroyed by robots, a world of passively invading alien parasites. 

Science fiction, contrary to what its frequently fluffy appearances at the multiplex might lead you to believe, is a brilliant medium for ideas. You can invent anything: a starfleet based on equality, a future destroyed by robots, a world of passively invading alien parasites. You can dream up new versions of the future, or meld past and present; you can envision impossible technology. Science fiction is built to tell us who we are by imagining where we might be going. 

August 8, 2013 12:00 AM

Perhaps, like Bauhaus furniture or the beauty of shallow people, Stanley Kubrick’s movies are meant to be admired but not loved. Kubrick was a master stylist, a director whose films are as quickly identifiable as those of Alfred Hitchcock or Michael Mann.

Perhaps, like Bauhaus furniture or the beauty of shallow people, Stanley Kubrick’s movies are meant to be admired but not loved. Kubrick, who died in 1999 at the age of 70, was a master stylist, a director whose films are as quickly identifiable as those of Alfred Hitchcock or Michael Mann. Steely, distanced, full of hard angles and wide vistas, a Kubrick movie is a study in formal technique, like looking upon a painting that magically, and rather sinisterly, animates itself.

August 1, 2013 12:00 AM

Broken begins with loosely shuffled snippets of character and drama. When the film snaps into narrative focus, it’s with a sudden act of violence: On a quiet cul-de-sac, a young man washes his car. A passing neighbor girl says hello. The boy appears not quite all there: He has a hard time putting words in order, but he seems kind. As the girl departs, another neighbor appears, pulling his shirt off before knocking the young man halfway across the car.

Broken begins with loosely shuffled snippets of character and drama. When the film snaps into narrative focus, it’s with a sudden act of violence: On a quiet cul-de-sac, a young man washes his car. A passing neighbor girl says hello. The boy appears not quite all there: He has a hard time putting words in order, but he seems kind. As the girl departs, another neighbor appears, pulling his shirt off before knocking the young man halfway across the car.

July 25, 2013 12:00 AM

It’s possible — though maybe not common — to go through your entire life not realizing that the line Merry Clayton sings in the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” begins, “Rape, murder!” 

It’s possible — though maybe not common — to go through your entire life not realizing that the line Merry Clayton sings in the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” begins, “Rape, murder!” 

July 18, 2013 12:00 AM

Tonto’s first appearance was on the 11th episode of the radio show The Lone Ranger on Dec. 7, 1938. The radio broadcast identified Tonto as a chief’s son in the Potawatomi Nation. The choice to make Tonto Potawatomi seems to come from the station owner’s childhood affiliation with Michigan. Tonto was created by a nonnative, which in my opinion, is undoubtedly Tonto — nonnative.

“ … The motion picture community has been as responsible as any for degrading the Indian and making a mockery of his character, describing his as savage, hostile and evil. It’s hard enough for children to grow up in this world. When Indian children watch television, and they watch films, and when they see their race depicted as they are in films, their minds become injured in ways we can never know.” — Marlon Brando, Oscar speech, 1973

 

July 18, 2013 12:00 AM

When Pacific Rim’s end credits rolled, a friend turned to me and said, “Now I kind of want to watch that Hugh Jackman ‘rock ’em, sock ’em’ robots movie.” Such is the effectiveness of Guillermo del Toro’s deliciously oversized robots vs. monsters movie: It’ll make you want more fighting robots, even of the sub-par kind.

When Pacific Rim’s end credits rolled, a friend turned to me and said, “Now I kind of want to watch that Hugh Jackman ‘rock ’em, sock ’em’ robots movie.” Such is the effectiveness of Guillermo del Toro’s deliciously oversized robots vs. monsters movie: It’ll make you want more fighting robots, even of the sub-par kind.

July 11, 2013 12:00 AM

Like Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, Margarethe von Trotta’s Hannah Arendt has an all-encompassing biopic title, but focuses on one key moment of its subject’s life.

Like Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, Margarethe von Trotta’s Hannah Arendt has an all-encompassing biopic title, but focuses on one key moment of its subject’s life. In 1961, the German thinker and writer Hannah Arendt (Barbara Sukowa) went to Jerusalem to cover, for The New Yorker, the trial of Adolf Eichmann. It was a chance to get up close to the horrors of her past; as a young woman, she had been held in a camp in France.

July 3, 2013 12:00 AM

Rarely has a film begun with a more perfect quote than the one that opens Stories We Tell. Borrowing a line from Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace, Michael Polley says, “When you are in the middle of a story it isn’t a story at all, but only a confusion … It’s only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story at all.”

Rarely has a film begun with a more perfect quote than the one that opens Stories We Tell. Borrowing a line from Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace, Michael Polley says, “When you are in the middle of a story it isn’t a story at all, but only a confusion … It’s only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story at all.”

June 27, 2013 12:00 AM

For years, Joss Whedon fans have been reading about the writer-director-composer’s Shakespeare brunches — at which cast members from his beloved shows would gather, drink, eat, read the Bard’s plays and generally (we imagine) have about as much fun as nerds can have with their clothes on. With the release of Much Ado About Nothing, we finally get to attend one of these famed brunches, though the mimosas are BYO. 

For years, Joss Whedon fans have been reading about the writer-director-composer’s Shakespeare brunches — at which cast members from his beloved shows would gather, drink, eat, read the Bard’s plays and generally (we imagine) have about as much fun as nerds can have with their clothes on. With the release of Much Ado About Nothing, we finally get to attend one of these famed brunches, though the mimosas are BYO. 

June 20, 2013 12:00 AM

Superman, who originally hails from both a different planet and a different era, is often a tough sell with modern audiences who’ve gotten used to conflicted heroes, anti-heroes and intriguing bad guys. Superman — with a smile and a cape, the embodiment of a certain kind of American ideal — is just so good.

Superman, who originally hails from both a different planet and a different era, is often a tough sell with modern audiences who’ve gotten used to conflicted heroes, anti-heroes and intriguing bad guys. Superman — with a smile and a cape, the embodiment of a certain kind of American ideal — is just so good.

It turns out he’s a little conflicted after all. 

June 13, 2013 12:00 AM

In 1994’s Before Sunrise, twentysomethings Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) met on a train. After one very talkative, very special night together, they parted ways, agreeing to meet in six months. It was nine years before they met again, in Before Sunset: Jesse wrote a book based on their first meeting, and Celine found him at a Paris reading. 

In 1994’s Before Sunrise, twentysomethings Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) met on a train. After one very talkative, very special night together, they parted ways, agreeing to meet in six months. It was nine years before they met again, in Before Sunset: Jesse wrote a book based on their first meeting, and Celine found him at a Paris reading. 

June 6, 2013 12:00 AM

There are 27-year-olds who have their shit together, but I wasn’t one of them. If you were, you may watch Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha as a sort of anthropological study: the still-questing twentysomething, running into pitfalls and learning (the hard way, of course) that expectation goes hand-in-hand with entitlement, and neither are in sync with reality very often.

There are 27-year-olds who have their shit together, but I wasn’t one of them. If you were, you may watch Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha as a sort of anthropological study: the still-questing twentysomething, running into pitfalls and learning (the hard way, of course) that expectation goes hand-in-hand with entitlement, and neither are in sync with reality very often.

May 30, 2013 12:00 AM

The popular perspective on animation tends to lie within the realm of Saturday morning cartoons or late-night adult comedy like South Park or Family Guy. But Portland’s Northwest Animation Festival is trying to change these classic conceptions of animation. And this year, the festival is bringing its expansive, carefully curated program down to Eugene.

The popular perspective on animation tends to lie within the realm of Saturday morning cartoons or late-night adult comedy like South Park or Family Guy. But Portland’s Northwest Animation Festival is trying to change these classic conceptions of animation. And this year, the festival is bringing its expansive, carefully curated program down to Eugene.

“We’ve put a lot of effort into building our audience in Portland,” says festival director Sven Bonnichsen. “We’re hoping to do the same in Eugene.”

May 23, 2013 12:00 AM

Four years ago, J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot pulled off a slick little trick. A shiny, whizbang movie with an excellent ensemble cast, the 2009 Trek restarted the series timeline, giving Abrams and company endless freedom to boldly go to entirely new places, unencumbered by the history writ in the TV shows and earlier films. 

Four years ago, J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot pulled off a slick little trick. A shiny, whizbang movie with an excellent ensemble cast, the 2009 Trek restarted the series timeline, giving Abrams and company endless freedom to boldly go to entirely new places, unencumbered by the history writ in the TV shows and earlier films. 

May 16, 2013 12:00 AM

Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is a loud, lavish, unevenly paced but ultimately compelling adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s celebrated novel about a man, the woman he yearns for and how, in yearning for what once was, he is destroyed by the past — that past into which we are all ceaselessly borne back.

Director Baz Luhrmann’s risky, gamboling Romeo + Juliet (1996) proved, once again, that Shakespeare’s best stuff can withstand any infringement of time and run with it — including gang warfare, palm trees and the wowzers of an acid trip. Recall, if you dare, the raw but playful sexuality of this scene: Claire Danes as Juliet, spying through a massive fish tank and catching her first aquamarine glimpse of Romeo, as the gaunt, slightly extra-terrestrial face of a young Leonardo DiCaprio seems to swim through the coral. It’s an exquisite moment.

May 9, 2013 12:00 AM

Stanley Kubrick created The Shining to exorcise his guilt for helping fake the 1969 Apollo moon landing, to represent the genocide of Native Americans or to retell the Greek myth Theseus and the Minotaur.

Stanley Kubrick created The Shining to exorcise his guilt for helping fake the 1969 Apollo moon landing, to represent the genocide of Native Americans or to retell the Greek myth Theseus and the Minotaur.

May 2, 2013 12:00 AM

It feels oddly rude to complain about a movie like The Company You Keep, with its sprawling cast of oft-underused actors from across generations and its well-intentioned plot, which sweeps Vietnam-era radicals up and drops them into the present. But Robert Redford’s latest film is an unsettled mixed bag.

It feels oddly rude to complain about a movie like The Company You Keep, with its sprawling cast of oft-underused actors from across generations and its well-intentioned plot, which sweeps Vietnam-era radicals up and drops them into the present. But Robert Redford’s latest film is an unsettled mixed bag, despite valiant efforts from Chris Cooper, Anna Kendrick, Richard Jenkins and Nick Nolte (to name just a few).

April 25, 2013 12:00 AM

Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is nobody special. On Earth in 2077, he and his colleague/girlfriend Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) are the clean-up crew of a dead planet. An alien war destroyed the moon, which spreads like a smashed boulder across the sky; the parts of the planet not already destroyed by the war were subject to earthquakes and tsunamis.

Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is nobody special. On Earth in 2077, he and his colleague/girlfriend Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) are the clean-up crew of a dead planet. (You might, distantly, be reminded of Wall-E.) An alien war destroyed the moon, which spreads like a smashed boulder across the sky; the parts of the planet not already destroyed by the war were subject to earthquakes and tsunamis. Now, giant machines suck up what’s left of the ocean, creating power for human colonies in space.

April 18, 2013 12:00 AM

The Place Beyond the Pines is an ambitious, beautifully filmed follow-up to director/co-writer Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine (2010). That bleak bruise of an indie darling gave a stamp of greatness to the careers of Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling, and it divided viewers, who thought it was a searing portrait of a dissolving marriage — or thought it had little to say. 

The Place Beyond the Pines is an ambitious, beautifully filmed follow-up to director/co-writer Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine (2010). That bleak bruise of an indie darling gave a stamp of greatness to the careers of Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling, and it divided viewers, who thought it was a searing portrait of a dissolving marriage — or thought it had little to say. 

April 18, 2013 12:00 AM

Cinema Pacific, the annual festival featuring films from Pacific-bordering countries, is in full swing, and like any good film festival there is a dizzying array of options for movie buffs and casual cinemagoers alike to choose from. This year’s focus will be on films and filmmakers from Singapore, Mexico and the U.S. West Coast.

Cinema Pacific, the annual festival featuring films from Pacific-bordering countries, is in full swing, and like any good film festival there is a dizzying array of options for movie buffs and casual cinemagoers alike to choose from. This year’s focus will be on films and filmmakers from Singapore, Mexico and the U.S. West Coast.

April 11, 2013 12:00 AM

It’s finally getting a little easier to look at Gael García Bernal and not see the young man from Y Tu Mamá También. García Bernal has hardly seemed to age since that 2002 film, but as René Saavedra, in the Oscar-nominated Chilean film No, he has a scrappy beard dotted with just enough gray to make him believable as the father of a young son.

It’s finally getting a little easier to look at Gael García Bernal and not see the young man from Y Tu Mamá También. García Bernal has hardly seemed to age since that 2002 film, but as René Saavedra, in the Oscar-nominated Chilean film No, he has a scrappy beard dotted with just enough gray to make him believable as the father of a young son.

April 11, 2013 12:00 AM

As my old Seattle friend Big Gay Bob once told me years ago over gin fizzes: “Honey, nobody has more fun than the gays.” It’s true: Not only do gay people tend to earn more, dress better and screw more often than straight folk, but they really do know how to cut a rug, if you know what I mean.

As my old Seattle friend Big Gay Bob once told me years ago over gin fizzes: “Honey, nobody has more fun than the gays.” It’s true: Not only do gay people tend to earn more, dress better and screw more often than straight folk, but they really do know how to cut a rug, if you know what I mean. I’d even take this one step further and argue that were it not for the gays, this would be one bleak, narrow existence. 

April 4, 2013 12:00 AM

Two sets of fingerprints are smeared all over The Host, a quiet sci-fi story about a strange invasion. The film is based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer, whose weaknesses as a writer have been plentifully detailed.

Two sets of fingerprints are smeared all over The Host, a quiet sci-fi story about a strange invasion. The film is based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer, whose weaknesses as a writer have been plentifully detailed. Her dialogue is leaden, her adjectives overused, her love triangles — or squares — so predictable that my date leaned over, midway through The Host, to say of its matching blond hunks, “I’m confused about which one is Robert Pattinson and which is the werewolf guy.”

March 28, 2013 12:00 AM

Yes, yes, yes: Spring Breakers, the latest film by aging wunderkind Harmony Korine, is a veritable fiesta of tits and ass. And we’re not talking about your daddy’s Mousketeer variety of bikini-and-tramp-crack-clad tits and ass, a’la Annette Funicello, but the sort of gone-wild nekkid tits and ass that shake and undulate in drunken slow motion, so that even on the most toned collegiate body you can see ripples of cellulose motoring around under the burnt umber of tanned skin.

Yes, yes, yes: Spring Breakers, the latest film by aging wunderkind Harmony Korine, is a veritable fiesta of tits and ass. And we’re not talking about your daddy’s Mousketeer variety of bikini-and-tramp-crack-clad tits and ass, a’la Annette Funicello, but the sort of gone-wild nekkid tits and ass that shake and undulate in drunken slow motion, so that even on the most toned collegiate body you can see ripples of cellulose motoring around under the burnt umber of tanned skin.